Bark's Bites: An Open Letter to Florida

Mark "Bark M." Baruth
by Mark "Bark M." Baruth
bark s bites an open letter to florida

Dear Florida,

We need to talk. You’re a good state. Really, you are. I love your beaches. There’s the delightful lilt of latin accents everywhere. Daytona is the place where motorsports royalty is crowned in America. Sebring is the place of legends. And who doesn’t love Disney World?

But we need to talk about your car situation. It’s just flat-out embarrassing. All of your friends are talking about it. I think it’s time we had a an open, honest conversation, and maybe we can solve this problem together.

First things first: let’s talk about your traffic issues. Why does Miami have horrific traffic at all times of day, no matter where you’re going, and no matter what route you’re taking? The highway system is a giant spaghetti bowl of confusing, winding roads that overlap a dozen times. Not only that, I get charged a gazillion dollars for the right to just sit in traffic, thanks to the photo tolls every 20 feet. Orlando isn’t any better, and it’s compounded by the millions of rental-car-driving hordes headed to see the Mouse. Can’t you do something about this?

And what’s with your need to over-personalize everything? You’re driving a Ford Focus, dude. It doesn’t need a wing. Or graphics. Or a fake dual exhaust. Or flames. It’s a nice, solid Focus. Oh, hell. You’ve done all of those things, haven’t you? Of course you have, Florida.

But it’s not enough that you’ve painted everything, debadged everything, lowered everything. Nope. Because you’ve done all of this nonsense to your car, you now have no budget to fix it. Now you have to roll around on a wobbly donut spare for the next three weeks until your check shows up.

It would be bad enough if you were just doing all of this nonsense to clapped-out crapwagons. But noooooo, you have to ruin Porsches, too. I get it, guys. Nearly 10 percent of all Porsches are sold between three dealerships in the Broward/Dade County areas. You want to stand out. But do you really need to slam your Macan to the ground? Does your 991 need rimz? Why do you feel the need to tint your Panameras until they look like rolling black holes?

What is this, Sunshine State? Only in Florida would this be a dealer-installed sticker option. Everywhere else in America, you’d be mocked for trying to make a four-cylinder Mustang look like the holy Boss 302. Nope, in Florida, you celebrate that shit — and the dealer charges you an extra grand for the shame of it.

Florida is the only place in America where you can buy a landau-top Chrysler 200 right off the lot — with color options. The average age of drivers in Pinellas County is over 60, and they all have landau tops, despite the fact that it’s roughly 127 degrees on any given day.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk to you about your car stereos, too. Guys, you’re the only place in country where people still have “boomin’ systems.” Every other state has figured out that nobody else wants to hear their music. But not you! You proudly thump the latest merengue/tejano/hip-hop music as loud as you can, regardless of the hour of the day. Nobody should be turning it up like that on a Tuesday at 2:45 p.m. But there you are, assaulting our eardrums.

But I could deal with your Dantean traffic and your stunningly poor taste if you knew how to drive even a bit. To drive in Florida is to have your lane constantly invaded by wandering vehicles that have no idea that you’re there — and then they wander on back, like nothing happened. Traffic lights are mere suggestions. You stop and go as you please, and leaning on the horn has little to no effect on you. Y’all have no problem whatsoever blocking intersections for entire traffic light cycles, either. At night, you take advantage of your bizarre modifications to blast down highways at 135 miles per hour for no apparent reason, weaving from lane to lane with no regard for what might be occupying the space you’re invading. Although your Huracans have never seen a track, that doesn’t stop you from testing their top speeds on I-95 on the daily.

Florida, get your shit together. You’re embarrassing the rest of us. Chill on the Pep Boys mods, stop cutting your springs, and take a defensive driving class. We all believe in you. You’ve got this.

[Images: Jenna Diane Martin]

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2 of 142 comments
  • Zipper69 Zipper69 on Sep 30, 2016

    Even as a happy Gulf Coast resident I accept the jibes with good humor. Driving back from Orlando airport in a rental Kia towards 75 and home I note a "choking" of traffic. I'm in 3 lanes, on my right is 2 lanes slowly merging with us (by this time our 3 has become 2). Slowly forward and we start to parallel 4 lanes on our left, this narrows to 3 and then 2 and then starts to merge with us. The masterful planning to take 4+3+2 and choked them down to 2 lanes, thus guaranteeing a half hour at funereal pace is amazing....

  • Paragon Paragon on Oct 02, 2016

    Well, Bark, this sure made for one very entertaining read! Seriously. And, we all got to learn about a whole lot more than just cars. Some of you guys had some really great stories.

  • Inside Looking Out You should care. With GM will die America. All signs are there. How about the Arsenal of Democracy? Toyota?
  • DenverMike What else did anyone think, when GM was losing tens of billions a year, year after year?
  • Bill Wade GM says they're killing Android Auto and Apple Carplay. Any company that makes decisions like that is doomed to die.
  • Jeff S I don't believe gm will die but that it will continue to shrink in product and market share and it will probably be acquired by a foreign manufacturer. I doubt gm lacks funds as it did in 2008 and that they have more than enough cash at hand but gm will not expand as it did in the past and the emphasis is more on profitability and cutting costs to the bone. Making gm a more attractive takeover target and cut costs at the expense of more desirable and reliable products. At the time of Farago's article I was in favor of the Government bailout more to save jobs and suppliers but today I would not be in favor of the bailout. My opinions on gm have changed since 2008 and 2009 and now I really don't care if gm survives or not.
  • Kwik_Shift I was a GM fan boy until it ended in 2013 when I traded in my Avalanche to go over to Nissan.